In my mind, the first book I ever bought was one of Taschen's. I am sure it wasn't, but I can live with that. By now I own tens of them. Not always because of the content, but also the balls the publisher has to promote certain topics. For instance, he has made soft porn look mainstream and brought architecture books to the masses. That is an accomplishment beyond belief. And for that reason I would like to dedicate this Lecture to the man himself.
Born in Cologn in 1961, he started his first venture with TASCHEN COMICS at the age of 18. In 1984, he took a gamble and bought 4,000 remainder copies of a Magritte monograph published in English with money borrowed from his family. The books sold through at double the price in two months and he was soon publishing his own books. By the end of the 1980s TASCHEN titles were available in over a dozen languages at prices that made art books affordable to students and collectors alike. The legend was born.
Benedikt Taschen tested the theory that he could publish any book he wants, with Helmut Newton's SUMO, the largest bound book of the 20th century. The book is now the company's most successful title of the last ten years and the precursor to Benedikt Taschen's most ambitious personal project: GOAT - Greatest of All Time, a tribute to Muhammad Ali. Four years in the making, GOAT weighs 75 lbs and is 51 cm x 51 cm in size, with nearly 800 pages of archival and original photographs, graphic artwork and articles and essays - including those of Ali himself.
Today, TASCHEN has offices in Cologne, Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Hong Kong, as well as 12 stores around the world, from Beverly Hills, New York, and Miami to London, Brussels, Paris, and Berlin. Worldwide, the company employs two hundred staff and continues to grow. TASCHEN is pushing boundaries in modern publishing through its prized Collector’s Editions and refusal to compromise on quality. As Matt Weiner, the creator of the hit show Mad Men, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal: “Benedikt Taschen is a miracle of taste in publishing.... He consistently maintains incredible quality in content and style... he documents the present and the past in an indispensable way.”
In his honor we will launch some of his prized possessions, that will get your engine running!
And of course the ones that already should be on your shelf by now. Get an idea of giants like Eames, Saarinen and Wright in Case Study Houses or Gropius and Van de Velde in Bauhaus. And if you are interesting in the difference between design and style? Try these: